Pyramid of Peril is a dungeon crawler although it lacks RPG elements like experience points and levels. The player is on an archaeological expedition in search of a sacred idol. To find it the player has to make his way through the pyramid, which consists of six randomly generated levels, while at the same time battling the various evil creatures that lurk in the rooms and corridors of the tomb.
The game is entirely played with the mouse and the screen is split into two views. On the left there is a first person view of the tomb and to the right is a map that is blank at the start but is automatically drawn as the player progresses through it. Among the corridors there are various objects that can be collected. Some of these like jewels and jewellery are just worth points while others are necessary to complete the game. To be able to find the idol the player first needs to get a key, a lamp, a knife and a score of more than 2000 points. Combat is in real time and when enemies appear the player has to quickly click on them or else the condition meter will decrease until it reaches zero. At the start the player is equipped with a staff but a knife and a sword can be found. Some back story is told through notes from previous expeditions that the player can find. Some of these also gives clues to what needs to be done.